The great debate continues on single sex classrooms. Is this concept right for you?
If your son was failing in school or misbehaving in class, would you place him in an all-boys classroom?
That's the solution to sagging test scores and behavioral problems at New York City's Public School 140.
But the idea of separating boys and girls isn't radical -- since 2004, 445 classrooms and 95 schools nationwide have caught on to the idea, according to the National Association for Single-Sex Public Education.
Here's the argument: When free from gender stereotyping, girls have the confidence to pursue studies and careers in math, science, and technology. And because boys aren't distracted to impress their female classmates, they collaborate together and get more involved in art, music, and drama (traditional female subjects).
But according to the National Organization for Women, gender stereotypes are magnified when boys and girls are segregated. For example, a boy who has never been beaten by a girl on a math test may develop major problems with female authority figures.
However, some teachers report a more positive learning experience in single-sex classrooms. For example, at Public School 140, male teachers consider their male students "23 sort of sons" and rely on "male bonding" like Marvel Comics and chess to illustrate their points - a teaching tool not likely used in a co-ed classroom. And according to one teacher, he can "be a little more stern" with his students now. "If I get in the face of a girl, she would just cry," he says. "The boys respond to it, they know it's part of being a young man."
And the benefits have been proven in all-girls classrooms, too: In 2005, an independent study by the Goodman Research Group, commissioned by the National Coalition of Girls' Schools, found more than 80% of the 4,200 girls' school graduates were better prepared than their coed school peers to succeed in college.
That said, research remains divided. At some schools there is no evidence of improvement when boys and girls are split up. At the Bronx's Eagle School, students in the co-ed fifth grade did better on last year's state tests in math and English than kids in the single-sex rooms. And this year's co-ed class had the highest percentage of students passing the state social studies exam.
What do you think - would you send your child to a single-sex school?